Hathras gang rape-murder case: Court acquits 3 accused, 1 convicted
In a major development in the Hathras murder and gang-rape case, an Uttar Pradesh (UP) court on Thursday acquitted three out of the four accused and held one accused guilty, as per NDTV. The case pertains to a horrific incident in 2020 where a Dalit woman was allegedly gang-raped and fatally injured by a group of upper class men in the state's Hathras district.
Why does this story matter?
- The Hathras case triggered a massive outrage across India in 2020, with many protesting and demanding justice.
- The case took a significant turn after the victim's family alleged that authorities took the woman's body from the hospital without their permission.
- As per their claims, authorities did not let her family perform her last rites and reportedly cremated her in the middle of the night.
Main accused not found guilty of rape, murder: UP court
The UP court acquitted three accused, namely Ramu, Luv Kush, and Ravi. The prime accused, Sandeep Thakur, was held guilty under the SC/ST Act and Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) but not for rape or murder. However, the victim's family isn't satisfied with the verdict and said they would appeal to the high court.
Know about Hathras rape-murder case
Almost two weeks after being gang-raped and critically injured by four upper-class men in September 2020, a 20-year-old Dalit woman from Hathras passed away while undergoing treatment at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. The Hathras district administration, however, cremated the victim in the middle of the night in her village, sparking outrage and accusations of a cover-up against CM Yogi Adityanath's government in UP.
Details on victim woman's statement to police
In an official statement to the police, the Dalit woman had alleged that she was dragged by her dupatta into the fields from a place where she had been cutting grass with her brother and mother. As per reports, the victim had sustained numerous fractures and a gash in her tongue, which had eerie similarities to the Nirbhaya gang rape from 2012.
CBI's chargesheet against accused
In October 2020, the Allahabad High Court took cognizance of the case and stated that the crime had "shocked" its conscience. The case was referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) 10 days later, which filed its chargesheet against the four individuals in December of that year. To recall, the investigation agency had charged all four men with murder and gang rape.
Details on CBI's chargesheet
"During her examination on September 22, the victim categorically stated that she was gang-raped by the four accused persons; she also named them in her dying declaration," the CBI chargesheet stated. "It establishes that on September 14, the victim was gang-raped at the bajra field when she was alone. Investigation also revealed that all four accused were present in the village or nearby place."
Conviction rate in cases of crime against women highest
As per the 2021 National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report, UP had the highest conviction rate of 59.1% in cases related to crime against women in India. The report had also noted that this was nearly double the national average of 26.6%. With a conviction rate of 53.1%, Bihar was second on the list, closely followed by Rajasthan (45.2%) and Madhya Pradesh (33.5%).